IT IS one of the most distinctive landmarks on the banks of the Clyde, and was home to Glasgow’s fish market for more than 100 years.
Now the origins of the historic Briggait building are to be marked in a series of mouth-watering film events as part of the city’s annual celebration of cinema.
Four food-themed films will be shown when the Grade A-listed landmark, which dates back to 1873 and is located on the edge of the old medieval quarter, is transformed into a “pop-up” cinema and café.
It is part of a major expansion of the festival into unusual spaces for special events.
Organisers say they want to offer audiences a “total cinema” experience – as well as an alternative to munching on popcorn.
The screenings of Ratatouille, Withnail & I, Goodfellas and When Harry Met Sally at the Briggait will be part of Glasgow Film Festival’s tenth anniversary celebrations.
Special themed menus will be created for each of the classic movies shown during the three-day venture, from 21 to 23 February.
The pop-up film shows will be some of the most high-profile events to be staged at the Briggait since its multi-million-pound transformation, which has seen parts of the building become home to more than 100 studios for artists.
The building, said to have been designed to replicate the famous Les Halles markets in Paris, was lying derelict for more than 20 years after an ill-fated conversion into a shopping centre in the 1980s.
Now a giant cinema screen, comfortable seating and a street-food café will be introduced to the Merchant City landmark, whose main courtyard is said to be largely unchanged since its late 19th-century inception.
Organisers have pledged to run pop-up cinema events on every night of next year’s festival, outwith the opening and closing nights, with the Briggait the first venue to be confirmed.
It follows a successful experiment last year when Jaws was shown aboard Glasgow’s Tall Ship on the Clyde, Walter Hill’s The Warriors was screened in the bowels of the Glasgow Subway and country and the Grand Ole Opry hosted a fancy dress-themed Calamity Jane night.
Allison Gardner, co-director of the Glasgow Film Festival, said: “We are dedicated to creating unique new cinema experiences for our audience, and this is certainly a new take on the hackneyed, date-standard dinner and a movie.
“Watching a film like Ratatouille, which is all about the joy of food, while surrounded by wonderful cooking smells – and, more importantly, eating a wonderful meal – is going to add a whole new dimension to the experience.”
Jonathan MacDonald, co-founder of Street Food Cartel, a Glasgow-based company that specialises in pop-up cafés and restaurants, said: “We aim to bring the best in world food to Glasgow, and Glasgow Film Festival are always looking for ways to highlight the city’s unusual spaces. Collaborating on our first pop-up event is an exciting way to bring food lovers and film fans together.”
The festival, which attracted a record audience of almost 40,000 last year, is planning its most ambitious event to date to mark not only its tenth anniversary, but also the 75th birthday of its main venue, the Glasgow Film Theatre, which started life as the Cosmo Cinema in May 1939, when it became Britain’s first “art house cinema” outside of London.
Gala screenings of films from that year, widely regarded as one of the best in the history of cinema, will be staged in Glasgow in February. The films will include The Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach, Wuthering Heights, Goodbye Mr Chips, Mr Smith Goes To Washington and Of Mice and Men.
The full programme for the Glasgow Film Festival will be announced next month.
Top 10 fish films
Trout of Africa
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Squid
Crayfish vs Crayfish
Good Whale Hunting
A Midsummer Night’s Bream
Dial M for Mullet
Raiders of the Lost Shark
Death Plaice 2000
... And the ones that got away
10 Things I Hake About You
We Need To Talk About Herring
The Prince And The Porpoise
Monty Python’s Life Of Brine